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Pension Evaluation
Basic Pension Principles
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Collection Laws and Exemptions by State
Tax Treatment in Pension Evaluation
Distribution from Qualified Plans
Webutation
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A-B Trust: "A trust created by a married couple with the objective of minimizing estate taxes. An A-B trust is a trust that divides into two upon the death of the first spouse. It is formed with each spouse placing assets in the trust and naming as the final beneficiary any suitable person except the other spouse. The trust gets its name from the fact that it splits into two upon the first spouse's death – trust A or the survivor's trust, and trust B or the decedent's trust."

Abeyance: "A situation in which the rightful owner of a property, office or title has not yet been decided. Abeyance results when the current owner or holder does not declare a single current beneficiary. Instead, the new owner is determined through the outcome of a particular event at some time in the future. Thus, the ownership of the property, office, or title is left unfilled. Abeyance is derived from the Old French word "abeance." which means a longing or gaping, with future expectation."

Absolute Beneficiary: "A designation of a beneficiary that cannot be changed without the written consent of that beneficiary. Also referred to as an "irrevocable beneficiary", absolute beneficiaries can also refer to a trust, an employee benefit plan such as a pension, or any other instrument or contract with a beneficiary clause."

Acceptance Of Office By Trustee: "A mutual understanding that a person has with the estate that implies they will assume administrative duties after being nominated. Acceptance of office by trustee is basically a formal way of giving consent to serve as a trustee. After being nominated, a trustee may decline to serve but cannot decline after accepting, nor delegate the responsibility."

Account In Trust: "An account that is managed by one party for the benefit of another. It is sometimes called an account held in trust, and the trust relationship can be either explicit or implied. Accounts-in-trust are typically set up for minors, and transfer of ownership will occur when the minor reaches legal age."

Accrued Benefits: "Coverage earned by an employee on a pension plan, based on years of service with an employer. Accrued benefits may include vacation, sick or personal time off, or other related benefits. Employees who are laid off, retire or are fired must receive all unpaid accrued benefits."

Accrued Monthly Benefit: "The earned pension benefit that will be paid to an employee at regular retirement age. The accrued monthly benefit is based on the employee's years of service through the accrual date, and is paid to pension holders each month following retirement."

Accumulated Benefit Obligation: "An approximate measure of a company's pension plan liability. The accumulated benefit obligation (ABO) is estimated based on the assumption that the pension plan is to be terminated immediately; it does not consider any future salary increases. This differs from the projected benefit obligation, which assumes that the pension plan is ongoing, and thus accounts for future salary increases."

Accumulated Income Payments (AIP): "Money withdrawn from a Canadian Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) if the RESP's beneficiary declines to attend college. RESPs allow contributions to grow tax-free until the money is withdrawn, at which time taxes on withdrawals tend to be low or nonexistent since students have little to no income. If the beneficiary chooses not to go to college, the investment income earned in the RESP is not forfeited as long as the subscriber (usually the student's parent) is a resident of Canada at the time of withdrawal, the RESP is at least 10 years old, and the beneficiary is at least 21. An accumulated income payment can also be made if the beneficiary is deceased. AIPs are not allowed under all types of RESPs."

Active Participant Status: "Active-participant status is a reference to an individual's participation in an employer sponsored retirement plan. The plans which qualify include:

1. Qualified plans, such as profit sharing plans, defined benefit plans, money purchase pension or target benefit plans and 401(k) plans
2. SEP IRAs
3. SIMPLE IRAs
4. 403(b) plans
5. Qualified annuity plans
6. Employee Funded Pension Trusts (created before June 25, 1959)
7. A plan established for its employees by the United States, by a State or political subdivision of the United States, or by an agency or instrumentality of the United States or any of its subdivisions"

Active Trust: "A trust where the trustee is held accountable for additional responsibilities. With an active trust, those additional responsibilities can be in respect to the control or management of the trust, collection of rent, profits, and sale proceeds; in other words the administration of the trust property. (Also referred to as a special trust.)"

Activities of Daily Living (ADL): "Routine activities that people tend do every day without needing assistance. There are six basic ADLs: eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (walking) and continence. An individual's ability to perform ADLs is important for determining what type of long-term care (e.g. nursing-home care or home care) and coverage the individual needs (i.e. Medicare, Medicaid or long-term care insurance)."

Actual Deferral Percentage / Actual Contribution Percentage (ADP/ACP Test): "Annual non-discrimination tests for 401(k) plans mandated by the IRS to ensure that a plan does not unduly benefit owners and highly compensated employees at the expense of other employees. The Actual Deferral Percentage (ADP) and Actual Contribution Percentage (ACP) tests must be passed in order to satisfy the non-discrimination requirements of the IRS if the plan is to continue.

  • If the plan fails either test, the employer must take corrective action to protect its qualified status in the 12-month period following the close of the plan year in which the oversight occurred."

Actuarial Analysis: "The examination of risk by a highly educated and certified professional statistician. Actuarial analysis uses statistical models to manage financial uncertainty by making educated predictions about future events. Insurance companies, banks, government agencies and corporations use actuarial analysis to design optimal insurance policies, retirement plans and pension plans and to analyze investment risks."

Actuarial Balance: "he difference between future Social Security obligations and the income rate of the Social Security Trust Fund as of present. The Social Security program would be said to be in actuarial balance if the summarized income rate is in line with the summarized cost rate of Social Security for any given valuation period. (Commonly referred to as the "solvency" of the Social Security System.)"

Actuarial Deficit: "The difference between future Social Security obligations and the income rate of the Social Security Trust Fund as of present. The Social Security program is said to be in actuarial deficit if the summarized income rate is less than the summarized cost rate of Social Security for any given valuation period. This situation is commonly referred to as the Social Security System being "insolvent."

Actuarial Science: "A discipline that assesses financial risks in the insurance and finance fields using mathematical and statistical methods. Actuarial science applies the mathematics of probability and statistics to define analyze and solve the financial implications of uncertain future events. Traditional actuarial science largely revolves around the analysis of mortality and the production of life tables, and the application of compound interest."

Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC): "An extra allocation of funds to a retirement savings account that is above the amount that an employer will provide a matching contribution for. Additional voluntary contributions are made at the discretion of the employee and go to an employer sponsored pension plan. Additional contributions can be made to tax-deferred savings accounts such as the 401(k), 403(b) and individual retirement accounts (IRAs)."

Adjusted Gross Estate: "The net worth of the deceased's estate after deducting the cost of any outstanding debts and administrative costs associated with the individual. The adjusted gross estate is also the value in which estate taxes are levied upon."

Administrative Services Only (ASC): "An arrangement in which an organization funds its own employee benefit plan such as a pension plan or health insurance program but hires an outside firm to perform specific administrative services. For example, an organization may hire an insurance company to evaluate and process claims under its employee health plan while maintaining the responsibility to pay the claims itself."

Advanced Funded Pension Plan: "A pension plan that is funded concurrently with the employee's accrued benefits, such that the funds are set aside well before the employee's retirement. Advanced funded pension plans are generally defined contribution plans, and are fully funded. They can be funded by the employer alone, or by some combination of the employer and the employee."

Agency By Necessity: "A type of relationship whereby one party can make essential decisions for another party. Agency by necessity is recognized in the courts and typically applies when one party is unable to make."

Aggregate Level Cost Method: "An actuarial cost method that tries to match and allocate the cost and benefit of a pension plan over the span of the plan's life. The Aggregate Level Cost Method typically takes the present value of benefits minus asset value and spreads the excess amount over the future payroll of the participants."

Alaska Trust Act: "Provides protection against creditors for irrevocable trusts provided that the trust has a grantor who is a discretionary beneficiary. In order for the statute to be applicable, the following requirements must be met:

  1. At least one of the trustees must reside in Alaska or have a principal place of business in Alaska.
  2. A percentage of the assets of the trust are required to be on deposit in a checking account, brokerage account or other similar account.
  3. The records of the trust must be physically located in Alaska, and a percentage of the administration of the trust must take place in Alaska.

Alimony Substitution Trust: "A trust agreement in which a divorced person agrees to pay spousal support from the income generated from a trust. An alimony substitution trust is different from receiving alimony because this trust is taxed differently. The ex-spouse responsible to provide income from the trust is not required to pay income taxes on the income generated by the trust nor do they receive a tax deduction for payments made from this trust."

Alimony Trust: "A legal arrangement where property is transferred to a former spouse as a source of support following a divorce or separation. The payor spouse transfers investments and other assets that generate income into an alimony trust for the recipient spouse or beneficiary. The payor spouse cannot claim an alimony deduction on the income from an alimony trust, while the recipient spouse is taxed on the income but not the principal."

Allocated Benefits: "A type of payment that comes from a defined-benefit retirement plan. Allocated benefits are passed on (allocated) to the plan participants once the insurance company has received its premiums. Allocated benefits provide guaranteed retirement income to plan participants that is ultimately backed by the insurance carrier (and the PBGC).
This term can also refer to the maximum amount that can be paid for a given service that is itemized in a contract."

Allocated Funding Instrument: "A specific type of insurance or annuity contract that pension plans use to purchase retirement benefits incrementally. The allocated funding instrument is funded with employer contributions that are paid into the plan. The benefits that are purchased by the funding instrument are guaranteed to employees at retirement."

Allocation of Plan Assets On Termination: "The procedure that occurs upon the termination of any kind of pension plan. The allocation of plan assets on termination can occur in one of two ways: either each employee is repaid his or her contributions plus interest, or else the employees are categorized based on their entitlement to benefits."

Alternate Beneficiary: "In a will, an alternate beneficiary is usually named in case a person who is the named beneficiary refuses or disclaims the inheritance. In an insurance policy, an alternate beneficiary is usually a secondary or contingent beneficiary who receives the proceeds if the primary beneficiary has died."

Alternative Minimum Cost Method: "An ERISA approved method of funding pension plans. Pension plan administrators have two choices available to them when it comes to plan funding. The plan can be funded according to either the actuarial cost method or the accrued benefit cost method, which does not use benefit projections."

Annual Addition: "The total dollar amount contributed in a given year to a participant's retirement account under a defined-contribution plan. An annual addition is the sum of employer contributions, employee contributions and forfeitures in a particular year. The annual addition is subject to a maximum limit. This annual addition limit is the lesser of 100% of the participant's compensation for the year or the dollar limit in effect for the year. The annual addition dollar limit was fixed at $49,000 for each year from 2009 to 2011."

Annual Exclusion: "The amount of money that may be transferred by gift from one person to another each year without incurring a gift tax or affecting the unified credit. This amount can be transferred in the form of cash or other assets."

Annuity Contract: "The written agreement between an insurance company and a customer outlining each party's obligations in an annuity coverage agreement. This document will include the specific details of the contract, such as the structure of the annuity (variable or fixed), any penalties for early withdrawal, spousal provisions such as a survivor clause and rate of spousal coverage, and more."

Annuity Ladder: "An investment strategy for retirees or near-retirees that entails the purchase of immediate annuities over a period of years to provide guaranteed income while minimizing interest-rate risk. Annuity ladders allow retirees to maintain a portion of their investments in equities and bonds while periodically using a portion to purchase annuities. Purchasing annuities from a variety of insurance companies minimizes the potential for losses if an insurer goes under. "

Asset Protection Trust: "A vehicle for holding an individual's assets to shield them from creditors. Asset protection trusts allow, if it is difficult for a creditor to seize assets, settle with the debtor on favorable terms instead of engaging in costly litigation. This vehicle has complex regulatory requirements, such as being irrevocable and contains a spendthrift clause. An asset protection trust does provide for occasional distributions, but those distributions must only occur at an independent trustee's discretion."

Asset Retirement Obligation: "An accounting rule established by Financial Accounting Standards Board Rule No. 143 in June 2001 that requires public companies to recognize the fair value of retirement obligations for tangible, long-lived assets in order to make their balance sheets more accurate. This focus on the balance sheet represents a change from the income-statement approach many businesses previously used."

Automatic Rollover: "1. The transfer of qualified retirement plan distributions into an individual retirement account with no action required by the account holder.
2. The reinvestment of a certificate of deposit's interest and principle upon maturity with no action required by the account holder. When a CD matures, the certificate holder may have a short window during which to move the proceeds to another account. If they do nothing, the financial institution automatically reinvests the proceeds into a new CD with the same maturity as the original CD."

Automatic Savings Plan: "A type of personal savings system in which the plan contributor automatically deposits a fixed amount of funds at specified intervals into their investment account. The typical structure of this type of savings system is an automatic transfer from an individual's bank account into a different savings or investment account every two weeks. Then, every time the individual receives a paycheck from their employer, their desired savings amount is automatically transferred into their savings account."

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